Powering the world with nuclear energy - past, present, and inevitable future
Purpose - The article aims to explore the potential for pebble-bed high-temperature gas reactor (HTGR) technology to meet possible future energy shortages. Design/methodology/approach - The historical evolution of nuclear power is reviewed followed by empirical data that demonstrate the finite nature of oil and gas reserves. The characteristics of HTGR technology are then explored. Findings - A pebble-bed HTGR ameliorates nuclear waste disposal issues, does not disgorge large quantities of excess heat, is terrorist-resistant, solves persistent problems concerning weapon proliferation, and is inherently safe. Originality/value - The article makes the case for the US Department of Energy to take the lead in demonstrating a pebble-bed HTGR plant to overcome industry reluctance to invest in this technology.